For centuries, tattoos have been a form of self-expression. People choose to get tattoos of flowers, animals, loved ones, special quotes, and everything in between. Sometimes they have deep meaning, and sometimes the person just likes the way the design looks.
The beautiful thing about tattoos is that anyone can get just about any design they can imagine. Simply by choosing to get that design permanently marked on their body, it means something to them.
A recent tattoo trend with a lot of meaning is to get a wedding band tattoo. Married couples may choose to forego a traditional wedding rings and get a tattoo on their ring finger instead.
What are Wedding Band Tattoos
Wedding band tattoos can range in size and style, but traditionally it seems to be a single black line around the fourth finger on the left hand.
Sometimes people choose to get a more intricate design. Some examples are two lines with the wedding date or the spouse’s initials in the middle, or a small design such as a heart, an anchor, or a small phrase such as “’til death” or “I promise.”
The general sentiment is a permanent sign of commitment to a spouse that cannot be simply removed from the finger.
Some couples choose to get wedding band tattoos simply because they like tattoos and think it’s a fun idea. Others, however, choose them for practical reasons.
For people who have labor-intensive and dangerous work such as mechanics, electricians, utility workers, or construction workers, it makes sense to get a wedding band tattoo. It provides a way for them to show their commitment to others without wearing potentially dangerous jewelry that can cause them to lose a finger in their line of work.
It can also be a good idea for people in athletic or physically active jobs such as personal trainers, yoga instructors, or professional athletes. Jewelry can irritate or slip off with high levels of sweat, so tattooed rings are a fun alternative to silicone bands or not wearing any ring at all.
How Painful Are Wedding Band Tattoos?
As with all tattoos, the amount of pain experienced will depend on each person’s pain tolerance.
Since the finger is a sensitive area with little fat to cushion between the skin and bone, a wedding band tattoo is likely to hurt a bit. The finger is also full of nerves, all prone to react sharply to the needle pain.
The great thing about a wedding band tattoo when it comes to pain is that it’s small. Even if it ends up hurting a lot more than expected, it’s small enough that the pain will only last for a short time until it’s done.
For experienced tattoo lovers, it may not hurt as much simply because they’re used to the pain of tattoos. For those who will be getting a wedding band tattoo as their first tattoo, it may hurt more than expected.
Some people have described tattoos as bee or wasp stings. For some people, it tickles. The sensation is different for everyone, so just remember that a tattoo is a series of needle pricks and will likely come with some level of pain.
How Long Do Wedding Ring Tattoos Last?
The length of time that any tattoo lasts can depend on a number of factors: exposure to sunlight, wear against apparel and jewelry, the color of the ink. Finger tattoos are especially susceptible to fading due to constant washing and scrubbing of hands.
With a wedding ring tattoo, part of the longevity will depend on whether the person also occasionally wears a traditional wedding ring on top of the tattoo. If you choose to wear a ring on top of the wedding ring tattoo, this will wear down the layer of skin and ink underneath quicker than going without a traditional ring.
Choosing not to wear a ring on top of the tattoo, however, can increase the tattoo’s exposure to the sun. Long term sun exposure is the number one cause for tattoo fading.
Taking proper care of your tattoo can reduce the level and speed of fading. Try using an unscented lotion such as Lubriderm on your hands at least once daily to keep the skin moisturized and protected. When planning to be out in the sun, be sure to use sunscreen too.
How Much Do Wedding Band Tattoos Cost?
The price of any tattoo will vary by shop, artist, design, and ink color.
Most tattoo shops have a minimum cost for any tattoo, regardless how small. This minimum charge can range anywhere from $30-100 and may depend upon each artist individually.
Tattoo designs also heavily influence the cost. This can change not only contingent on the intricacy of the design, but whether you have a stencil ready for the artist to trace and tattoo or if the artist is asked to design the tattoo by hand.
Black is the traditional chosen ink color for wedding ring tattoos, but people can choose any color they want. Most tattoo shops will charge a higher amount for color tattoos than black ink tattoos.
In general, you can expect a wedding ring tattoo to cost you anywhere between $50-300, possibly higher depending on the design you want and the tattoo shop. This is often less than the cost of a traditional wedding ring, making this a more cost-effective alternative to jewelry rings.
For a more accurate estimate, be sure to call around to local tattoo shops. You can stop by to share the design you’re thinking of getting and they’ll be able to offer you a specific estimate in your area based on your chosen design.
Do Wedding Band Tattoos Go All The Way Around?
Usually, people who get wedding band tattoos have it go all the way around. The point is to have it replicate a physical ring, so it makes sense to have the ink make a full circle around your finger.
The issue with this is that the skin on the underside of your finger takes ink differently than the skin on top, causing the wedding ring tattoo to fade unevenly over time.
It’s up to each individual whether they want the full circle or not. It may look better at first, but as time passes the inconsistent fading may look worse. It’s an unfortunate reality of finger tattoos, and only you can decide which way is best for you.
How Often Do Ring Tattoos Need To Be Touched Up?
The actual timeline will depend on how well you take care of your tattoo and personal preference on how it looks.
Generally, wedding band tattoos – and all finger tattoos – will need to be touched up about every one or two years. This is if you want to keep it looking as dark and sharp as the day you got it done.
You can make it longer before needing a touch up with proper care, such as the use of lotion and sunscreen as mentioned before. You can also go longer if your original ring tattoo is thicker as the fading won’t be as obvious with a thick, dark line rather than a thin one.
The frequency of touch ups also depends on personal preference. If you don’t mind that the edges of the band tattoo have become blurry and faded in a spotty and inconsistent manner, then you can make it several years before choosing to get a touch up.